Bok assistant Mzwandile Stick: Sevens should produce players for 15s
Being a sevens rugby man, Springbok assistant-coach and Springbok Green coach Mzwandile Stick knows exactly how to get the best of players who’ve cut their teeth in the abbreviated format.
Some of them, like Cheslin Kolbe, used Sevens rugby to sharpen their skills to a point where they’re one of the best in the world.
South Africa’s men’s national sevens rugby team are also one of the best in the world. Chances are they would have been medal contenders at the Tokyo Olympics if they took place.
Stick is very happy that sevens rugby is finally getting the appreciation it deserves in the form of being a format where players can develop into better 15s players instead of a dumping ground.
“I’ve got a soft spot when it comes to sevens players. It’s very good to see the connection between the 15s and sevens game,” Stick said.
“You look at someone like Cheslin Kolbe coming through that system and he’s now one of the best rugby players in the world. You look at Rosko Specman and he had a good Super Rugby tournament with the Bulls.
“It’s actually good to see that the guys from the sevens system are making it. In the past, it was always a matter of size being the reason they’re sidelined.
“Gone are those days now and guys are playing with a big heart. You can see the likes of Kolbe are playing the game. It shows that size doesn’t matter.”
There’s also the Pro14 that South Africa’s Super Rugby franchises will be taking part in.
Springbok Gold coach Deon Davids has coached in both tournaments in his capacity as the Southern Kings coach and knows what it takes to compete in that tournament.
“The Pro14 is a very good and challenging competition. On different weeks you play against different cultures, different countries and different coaching minds on different surfaces,” Davids said.
“Our teams may be slower out of the blocks, but they will adapt. Looking at our talent, it’s going to be an exciting competition to be in.”
While Lood de Jager joined the Green team as a consultant, there also was the bad news of his Springbok teammate Oupa Mohoje testing positive for Covid-19.
The luckless forward who has a storied battle with injuries won’t be featuring on Saturday. Stick said Mohoje’s positive test was unfortunate.
“They don’t share rooms at the moment to limit the risk of Covid-19. We all understand that Covid-19 is out there,” he said.
“We’re living with it, so with all the government protocols in place. It’s just been unlucky with Oupa, but it’s also good to see that most of the guys have tested negative. We had to test when we came into camp.”